I saw him several weeks ago sitting in the low branch of a crabapple tree, keeping tabs of all the goings on his little patch of ground.
It was early morning, and he was a little pissed off I had interrupted his reverie, scolding me with clicks and chirps as he flew to another tree a bit further away, then to yet another as I continued to approach. Finally, realizing I wasn't going away, he flew off to find peace elsewhere.
Two mornings ago my husband got this great shot of the merlin just outside our kitchen window. He chilled for a while in the yard, stopping once to perch on the fountain for a better view, then left.
All songbirds had long since disappeared and were tucked silently into the lowest branches of shrubs.
Even still, I've seen the merlin attempt to make a strike at those birds deep in the underbrush--his speed is lethal! And watching him fly directly into the underbrush is breathtaking, because he's faster than our eye can actually delineate form. He really is just a blur and if he was hunting me, I would be long gone!
The only time I saw him do this, he didn't come up with breakfast, and the fury of his motion was so dramatic. Everything was pure motion and flurry, a few moments of pure chaos, and suddenly calm, quiet, stillness. The two extremes so intimately intertwined, giving new meaning to non-duality.
Maybe there's an element of terror in his presence...I've heard that some birds simply die of fright. Now there's an easy meal.
Our yard has a handy, drive-in offering for the merlin--a few giant trees in which to perch, a few nice bird feeders, a pond and fountain, and lots of song birds on the menu. This merlin is probably the same raptor we've seen for years in our yard and in our old yard 7 blocks south. I've been in town now for 20 years, and I've seen him for about 18 years, every year now. But without banding, I can't be sure he is the same bird.
It's nice to think this is the very same merlin, who follows me from house to house, an animal totem, a sentry presence, a link to migration mysteries and amazing eyes that see more of this earth than I can ever imagine...my imagination is dull and puny compared to what he has seen from his place in the sky!
Lucky, lucky merlin!
thanks honey for a great photo!